The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has demanded protection for families of slain journalists and requested the government to appoint special public prosecutors to deal with legal cases of around 100 journalists killed in Pakistan since 2001.
PFUJ issued the demands on November 23, the International Day to End Impunity. The demands also came just a day after an attack on yet another prosecutor dealing with the case of journalist Wali Khan Babar who was murdered in Karachi in 2011.
The attack led to the hearing of the case, which has been shifted from Karachi to Kandkot in Interior Sindh due to security reasons, to be adjourned.
In a written statement, PFUJ condemned the attack and demanded protection for the families of slain journalists who are receiving threats for their refusal to withdraw court cases.
“As we observe the day to end impunity, those behind the killing of Babar used terror to stop proceedings,” the statement read. “Five people linked with this investigation have already been killed and Babar’s brother and other family members are facing threats”.
While Babar’s brother is receiving threats to withdraw the case, PFUJ members said the bereaved families of two other slain journalists also faced similar threats.
Hayatullah Khan’s widow was killed and Munir Sangi’s widow had to leave her home to escape the threats. Khan’s body was found in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) in June 2006, six months after he had been abducted. He was a print reporter working for an Urdu daily. Sangi, a cameraman, was shot dead in May 2006 while covering clashes in Larkana, Sindh.
PFUJ officials said cases of dozens of journalists killed in Fata, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa or Balochistan were almost closed by the police, declaring them “blind cases”.
“PFUJ demands that all these cases be reopened and investigated,” the PFUJ statement said.
It added that it is the responsibility of media organisations to raise the issue when journalists are killed in the line of duty.
PFUJ appealed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Information Minister Pervez Rashid to appoint special prosecutors at the federal level and in provinces for bringing justice to the families of journalists killed with impunity while performing their professional duties.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2013.